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Classes resume at Thaba Jabula Secondary School after stabbing

A high school learner has died following a knife attack at the Thaba-Jabula Secondary School. Picture: Facebook

A high school learner has died following a knife attack at the Thaba-Jabula Secondary School. Picture: Facebook

Published May 16, 2022

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Johannesburg - Classes resumed today at Thaba Jabula Secondary School in Pimville, Soweto, where a student was stabbed to death by a fellow pupil on Thursday May 12.

Schooling was interrupted on Friday as parents stormed the school, demanding the release of their children, as they feared for their safety. Classes were subsequently halted due to altercations that ensued between some pupils.

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Upon arrival at school on Monday, students were met with the presence of police officers at the gate. Law enforcement officers were on site conducting searches.

The pupils were body searched and were asked to open their bags to ensure they were not carrying dangerous weapons onto school property.

The decision to have the police on site was agreed upon between parents, the school governing body (SGB) and the Gauteng Department of Education, during a meeting that was held on May 15.

At the school today, Gauteng Education Department spokesperson Steve Mabona indicated that schooling would be getting under way today, despite there being a number of buses that had not yet arrived to drop off pupils.

He stated that their failure to arrive could possibly be due to a faction of parents who were present at yesterday’s meeting, who felt that schooling should not resume today.

He said: “Well, according to information at our disposal, at the meeting yesterday there were parents that were not happy about the decision, and they felt that they need to continue with the disruptions.”

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He went on to say: “But we are managing the situation now. The majority of our pupils are in the classroom, the process of counselling has commenced, looking at assisting affected educators, as well pupils that were very close to the deceased, and thereafter all others will be taken through that process as well.”

Addressing the element of bullying that is said to have sparked the incident, Mabona said he had been made aware of the alleged bullying.

Mabona said: “We have interacted with the officials at the school, there is an element of confirmation, to an extent, of the alleged bullying because they actually confirmed that the bullying had occurred more than once.”

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He encouraged students to report incidents of bullying, as the department has a working relationship with the police, which enables them to process complaints of bullying effectively.

Outside the school, community leader Kabetswe Malebo blamed failed governance for the issues faced by schools like Thaba Jabula Secondary School.

He said: “It’s a sad reality that now they are doing spot checks on pupils in schools We have gangs within the schools, schools are dilapidated, schools are in a state of decay, yet our government is not doing anything to make sure they develop local schools.”

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Secretary-general of the National Association of School Governing Bodies Matakanye Matakanye called for schools to strengthen their laws, and enforce the laws more effectively.

He said: “In the same vein, we condemn this type of heinous act in the school. When these children carry weapons of war into the school and they are able to go through (onto the premises), whereas we know we have got laws in that school that bars pupils from bringing weapons into schools, and we want to call upon the school governing body to say – strengthen these laws, make sure these laws work because if they work effectively and are enforced, then there is no way that these children can bring weapons into the school.”

Speaking on the matter, Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi said: “A Grade 10 pupil was stabbed by a Grade nine boy during break time. He later passed away in hospital.”

He continued: “It is alleged that the Grade nine pupil was defending his younger brother from being bullied by the deceased Grade 10 pupil. He then reportedly stabbed the pupil four times during the fight and fled the scene.”

The 16-year-old Grade nine pupil has been arrested in connection with the stabbing.

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